“Morrissey and the Black”


Morrissey agrees to fight "Ned the black of Mulberry town" for a stake of ten thousand pounds. By the fourteenth round Morrissey is unconscious or nearly, but he is revived and knocks out his opponent in the twenty-fifth round


John Morrissey was born in Ireland in 1831 but was raised in New York and apparently went to California at the time of the Gold Rush. In 1852 he gained fame as a boxer by defeating George Thomson. The climax of Morrissey's career came in 1858 (so _DAB_ and other sources; I've seen a date of 1860 cited), when he defeated champion John C. Heenan and promptly retired. In the years that followed his gambling resort in Saratoga Springs proved very successful, and Morrissey was twice elected to congress. He died in 1878.

In addition to his boxing prowess, he is said to have been a "hatchet man" for the New York Tammany Hall machine. - RBW

Greenleaf/Mansfield says Morrissey was also a Congressman and State Senator for New York.

Ives-DullCare: .".. there is no record of a fight between Morrissey and anyone with a name remotely resembling 'Ned the blackman' from Melbourne or anywhere else." - BS

There had been, however, a tendency to recruit Black boxers in the early nineteenth century (see Christopher Sinclair-Stevenson, _Blood Royal: The Illustrious House of Hanover_, pp. 142-143). This was apparently due to the success of one Molineaux, called "The Moor." This may well have been remembered. - RBW

Cross references


  1. Laws H19, "Morrissey and the Black"
  2. Greenleaf/Mansfield 175, "John Morrissey and the Black" (1 text)
  3. Mackenzie 136, "Morrissey and the Black" (1 text)
  4. Ives-DullCare, pp. 186-187,251, "Morrissey and the Black" (1 text, 1 tune)
  5. Ives-NewBrunswick, pp. 30-32, "Morrissey and the Black" (1 text, 1 tune)
  6. DT 706, MORRBLK
  7. Roud #1884
  8. BI, LH19


Author: unknown
Earliest date: 1928 (Mackenzie)
Keywords: fight
Found in: US(NE) Canada(Mar,Newf)